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Study options & audition requirements

Composer with bassist in Britten Theatre
We understand that auditions are a significant milestone on every applicant’s journey towards a career as a conservatoire musician. The guidance below will help you prepare to the best of your abilities and make you aware of what will happen at your Royal College of Music audition.

Composers audition by submitting a portfolio of work to the RCM for consideration. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview. Typical questions you may be asked during your interview include:

  • Why do you want to study at the RCM?
  • What are your musical interests?
  • What do you think you need to do most to improve your writing?

Most candidates are interviewed at the RCM in London. We also offer interviews at a number of venues overseas. You are advised to read the information below carefully.

Principal studies

Every student undertakes principal study in their main specialism, which lies at the heart of their RCM experience. You can audition for the following principal studies. Please note that research degrees have their own set of requirements.


Undergraduate & taught postgraduate

All applicants must submit a portfolio of at least two, but not more than five, contrasting examples of their compositions.

We are looking for evidence of both a talent for composition and, depending on the level at which you wish to study, the ability to realise effectively, or to start to realise, your ideas in a variety of forms and media.

Candidates whose portfolios demonstrate potential will be invited to interview, where they may also be asked to complete a number of tasks.

Composition for Screen

Taught postgraduate only

All applicants must submit a portfolio of at least two, but not more than five, contrasting examples of their compositions.

In addition to the normal academic and musical standards expected for entry to the RCM's MComp or MMus course, Composition for Screen applicants will be expected to demonstrate:

  • A command of musical gesture and expression.
  • Instrumentation and orchestral skills.
  • Proficiency in music technology applications such as sequencing and score processing. 
  • Experience in the use of Logic or similar software.
  • A keen awareness of music's narrative and dramatic functions within and beyond film, television and multimedia.

Candidates whose portfolios demonstrate potential will be invited to interview. Prior to interview Composition for Screen candidates will be sent a short vocational task to complete (such as composing a short excerpt to accompany an image or scenario).

Second study

Undergraduates on the BMus course and postgraduates studying for MPerf, MComp or MMus have the option of undertaking a second study specialism. Second study allows students to receive tuition in a second specialism, taught and assessed at a lower intensity than their principal study, in an area that does not qualify for related study.

Second study specialisms are subject to succesful audition and the agreement of the relevant Head of Faculty. If you are interested in undertaking a second study please indicate this on your UCAS Conservatoires application. Auditions will be held once you commence your programme in September.

Please note that second study is not available to Composition for Screen students.

Submitting your portfolio

The application deadline for entry in 2018 has now passed. Late applications may still be considered. Please contact our Admissions team to check before submitting an application. Applications for entry in 2019 will open in summer 2018.

What to expect at interview

What to bring

You do not need to bring anything to your interview with you.

What not to bring

You cannot bring a teacher or a translator into your interview. The only people in your interview room will be you and the interview panel. As our courses are taught in English we expect you to be able to communicate in English at your interview.


Any student who auditions in person for a place on one of the RCM's performance or composition courses will automatically be considered for a scholarship or study award. Composers who audition by video interview will also be considered.

There is no separate application process.

Scholarships are awarded purely on merit based on performance at audition or the strength of portfolio and interview for composers. Unfortunately, the following applicants cannot be considered for scholarships or study awards:

  • Performers who audition by recording
  • Applicants for the Bachelor of Science in Physics and Music Performance
  • Applicants for the Master of Science in Performance Science
  • Applicants for the Master of Education
  • Applicants for any of our Experience Programmes

If you are offered a scholarship or study award you will receive a letter confirming this and the conditions of your award.

In exceptional circumstances, an applicant may be offered a scholarship on the day of their audition.

Composition & Composition for Screen interviews in London

You should plan to arrive at the RCM at least 30 minutes before your scheduled audition time.

We advise allowing plenty of extra time for travelling into or across London. If you are caught in an unavoidable delay, please telephone the Admissions Officer immediately so that, wherever possible, alternative arrangements can be made.

Admissions team

Admissions and general audition enquiries

When you arrive at the RCM, you should find out from the steward in the entrance hall where your interview will take place.

Composition and Composition for Screen interviews last approximately 20 minutes.

Composition & Composition for Screen video interviews

Candidates who are resident outside of Europe can choose to have a video interview instead of an interview in-person at the RCM. Please select this option in your application on UCAS Conservatoires.

Composition and Composition for Screen interviews last approximately 20 minutes.

After your audition

You will be informed of the result of your audition as soon as possible. The RCM cannot enter into correspondence over the results of auditions. 

Find out more

Audition queries

Please double-check that you are available at the time and date of your audition. If there are any special circumstances the RCM needs to be aware of before your audition, please let us know in advance.

Find out more

If you have any questions about auditions or the application process please contact our Admissions team.

Admissions team

Admissions and general audition enquiries